I had a wonderful birthday last week.
First, Hope and Cierra helped me win Aurora's Foaling Contest! Thank you, Hope, for being born on April 10th.
Aurora is so creative and generous. She surprised me with this print.
Be still my heart!
If you follow my blog, you probably know how perfect it is : "Souls Connected." Indeed. Thank you, Aurora, for blessing me through your blessing of little Hope. I plan to frame it and place it in a special place near my piano, where I can see it everyday.
My birthday fell on a Tuesday, and we have a recurring Taco Tuesday night with our family. For my birthday, my husband purchased a set of clay plates and bowls made in Mexico. They livened up our table, along with the chile pepper lights!
We went to the Mexican Deli / Store earlier that day and picked up some pastries and ordered their fresh masa, which is only made on Thursdays.
It was a fun night.
The weather is very chaotic. In fact, I was in my truck hauling Tweed to the park this afternoon and had to turn around because of a hailstorm that they did not predict. But we did it make it to the park another day.
Tweed did well on the obstacles, but I discovered that it is best to warm him up attached to a lead, rather than letting him run free in the round pen. He got too worked up, and I think he needs the support of the lead right now.
I didn't get to publish the above post because I have been so busy this week! Since I wrote it, my 3rd attempt, by the way, I had a lesson with Tumbleweed at the park.
A couple things. First, I realize I am not fully myself, or fully happy, when I'm not on my horse, because after riding Tweed yesterday, I felt myself again. As soon as I mounted up, it was like this swoosh of something I cannot describe.
I think it has to do with being vulnerable. It is a vulnerability that demands something more of my relationship with Tweed, because I am at his mercy. That feeling cannot be replicated on the ground.
Much of my life has been spent on horseback and it appears that it is my 'normal.' It is the place where I have experienced the most joyful moments, made more poignant because they are shared with my horse, and they always have a sense of something otherworldy, even scary, but that emerge into this beautiful...dance.
Does that make sense?
Now, I'll backtrack a bit.
I have been working with Tweed about being less emotional during transitions. When I ask for walk to trot, he doesn't care, but when I ask for trot to lope, he will get emotional. I have a method of setting him up for that ask, and I do it over and over and over, until the emotion is out of it, and he feels comfortable kicking up the energy and bringing it back down.
Rebecca and I met yesterday for our lesson down at the park, and I showed her our work. She liked it and suggested ways I could ask for even more--bring the energy up and down within the lope, and go back and forth more between the gaits, before I allow him to stop and rest. Basically, the same thing, but build on it.
I told her I wanted her to evaluate us for riding, and tell me if there are any holes I haven't seen. I think this self-doubt comes from my accident with Beautiful Girl, where I missed glaring holes, or didn't care about them--and paid the price. It wasn't fair to her or me, and I wouldn't want to do it again to Tumbleweed, who I need to carry me through the last of my riding days.
Rebecca asked me if there was something I was seeing that was causing me to worry. I told her there wasn't anything I was concerned about. What she saw is what I saw. So, she closed her eyes, smiled, and shook her head up and down in an emphatic yes, yes, yes. He's more than ready. In fact, she said she thinks he is bored.
I mounted right up. Rode him around the pen, then side-passed him to the gate to open and close it, and out over the obstacles.
She told me that when I can point him over anything--and he will attempt it--I will have successfully made a trail horse. I asked her, how do I do that? She answered, On the trail.
Of course, she's right. That's how I made Cowboy my trail horse (although, I don't think we accomplished her ultimate standard, he and I did come to an understanding). And it reminded me of all the great advice I got about developing him on the trail.
1. He can have one ear on something else, but he should always have one ear on me. If I lose both ears, I have to put him to work to get his attention back: up and down hills, circles, over logs, whatever it takes and is safe and available.
2. Don't mount up at all unless you have his attention. (That's very basic, but such good advice. I didn't have Beautiful's attention the day of our wreck, not even slightly.)
3. If he has an issue on the trail, for example, not paying attention down a hill (that happened last year), stop and work him up and down the hill until he gets it right. Split it into smaller sections if you have to, but don't miss the opportunity to work through things and take as long as you need. Even if that's all you do, you will have accomplished so much for all the following rides.
Our next lesson is going to be a trail ride. Yeehaw!
Oh, and Epona had a lesson, too, and all I can say is she is a ridiculously smart horse. They took her over bridges, turned her around on the bridges, and loaded her in and out of our trailer, asking her to back out for the first time. No surprise, she did everything as if she'd done it all her life, with not a single refusal or concern.
I'm happy for Shiloh, because after having a baby, she needs a horse that doesn't make her feel unsafe. Epona is perfect for her, and I love seeing them grow together. Rebecca says she's loving it, too, and will get them a long way together this summer.